Tony McCoy Rages Over Decision To Ban Irish Amateur Jockey At Cheltenham

Ruben Hill
March 14, 2019

Sir Anthony McCoy spoke of his disgust with racing's ruling body during an ITV broadcast from the Cheltenham Festival on Wednesday, expressing in vivid terms his unhappiness about bans handed out to jockeys who rode in the National Hunt Chase on Tuesday. What was Declan Lavery supposed to do then?

Lavery was banned for ten days following the National Hunt Challenge Cup, a four-mile amateur jockey's race, in which he finished third aboard Jerrysback. Stewards punished three jockeys for continuing in the marathon race when, in the stewards' view, their horses were exhausted and should have been pulled up, but McCoy noted that one of those jockeys had eventually finished third and insisted he had therefore done nothing wrong.

"I'm embarrassed for the British Horseracing Authority", said McCoy, the 20-times champion jockey.

"I have never seen as bad a decision in 25 years of coming to Cheltenham".

"My big thing is - what happens if the first and second horse had of fallen?"

"It is the responsibility of jockeys to pull up exhausted horses". Lavery was banned for continuing in the race when it appeared to be detrimental to the horse's welfare.

"To be clear, there was a panel of stewards led by George Welch, who was an amateur rider and has been a steward for a long time".

How did we get to this stage?

Welfare is a hot topic at Cheltenham...

This year, favourite Ballyward was fatally injured after his fall at the 17th fence in the National Hunt Chase.

Jockeys have been given daily briefings before racing to outline their responsibilities and warned about overusing the whip. Not have four-mile races?

Stewards effectively ruled three jockeys carried on riding exhausted horses that should have been pulled up.

An inquiry involving Damien Skehan, rider of fourth-placed Clondaw Cian who finished a length behind Jerrysback and was the last horse to complete the course, is pending as Skehan left the track before stewards commenced proceedings. Stewards said his mount had made exhausted jumping errors at the final two fences.

While Noel McParlan, the jockey on board Mulcahys Hill - a faller at the penultimate obstacle - was given an eight-day suspension. He was not visible on TV replays during the race's latter stages but stewards evidently took the view that he should have been pulled up before, at least, the final fence.

The AJA's advice became especially pertinent after heavy rain which preceded Tuesday's card and made conditions so testing. It's wrong. I have never seen as bad a decision in 25 years in racing.

"What about each-way punters?"

"The horse was perfectly fine this morning, the horse's welfare was not an issue".

Other reports by Click Lancashire

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